3 Techniques to Cope with Anxiety
Feeling anxious is a normal thing. We all feel nervous and worried at times. But when it affects you to the point where you have a hard time focusing, you can’t be around people, or it starts causing health problems, now you need to do something about it. Here are 3 fast ways to better cope with feelings of anxiety.
Ground yourself This is one of the most effective techniques to stop feeling anxious on the spot. When you feel anxious, it means that you’re thinking about something that hasn’t happened yet. Basically, making up scenarios in your head. Grounding forces you to bring your thoughts into the present. What you do is this… Name 5 things you can see right now, 4 things you can feel right now (like your pants), 3 sounds that you hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Depending on where you are, you might not use all of the 5 senses, but you want to use as many as you can. Again, this forces you to pay attention to the present, and not to something that hasn’t even happened yet.
Count your breaths Similar to grounding, it forces you to pay attention to the now. This is also a great exercise to help you sleep. There are different ways to do this. But one way is to take a deep breath in for 5 seconds long, and then breath out for 5 seconds long. If you’re really stressed, it’ll be hard at first to breath in for that long, but try to slowly increase it to 5 seconds. Then increase it to 6, and 7 seconds long. The counting in your head will help you stop thinking of anything else, and the deep breathing relaxes your body.
Turn your worry into a question Part of feeling anxious is that we are worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. And for some reason, we tend to think worse case scenarios. Because we don’t know what’s going to happen, we feel like we have no control. So turn your worry into a question. For example, instead of thinking “I’m going to fail the test,” ask yourself, “how can I better prepare for the test?’ Ask yourself how you can decrease the bad thing from happening, or how you can face the challenge. When you turn something into a question, you jump into problem solving mode, giving you a sense of control. One of the best ways to get rid of worry, is to turn it into a problem to solve. After you brainstorm some ways to solve the problem, take action.
Try practicing these three exercises when you notice yourself starting to get anxious. There are many different ways to deal with symptoms of Anxiety but you have to find what works for you.
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About the author.
Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, young adults, and Spanish speaking families in Lehigh Valley, PA.